Mariton: Dead Man’s Fingers

September 5, 2020

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager

Photo by Tim Burris

A dead man’s finger.

It is a little early for Halloween, but I recently found a Dead Man’s Finger along the trail.  This is actually the fruiting body (mushroom) of a fungus called Xylaria polymorpha.  It gets its common name because it resembles a rotted finger reaching up from the ground.

I only found one this time, but it is common to find these mushrooms in a group.  When you see several together, it is easy to imagine a hand reaching up from a shallow grave.

Photo by Tim Burris

Another photo from the archives.

A little spooky, and perhaps a little disturbing.  The fact that it is a fungus (The Ultimate Recycler), makes it fun.